Movin' to the country, gonna eat a lot of peaches
July 6, 2006 7:01 AM   Subscribe

Why are there more Peaches and Cream flavored instant oatmeal packs in Quaker's Fruit and Cream variety packs than any other flavor?

With some regularity, my son & I eat instant oatmeal with the fruit and cream kind being our favorite. I've noticed that every variety pack with includes peach, strawberry, blueberry, and banana always has something like twice as many peach as any of the other flavors. This is true not only with Quaker's variety pack but also Walmart and Kroger brands.

What gives? I'm assuming peach is cheaper to produce or something but can't imagine what would make peach cheaper/easier.
posted by MrToad to Food & Drink (14 answers total)
Probably some focus-grouping revealed that it was the most popular?
posted by glenwood at 7:04 AM on July 6, 2006

You get this with multipacks of different flavour crisps too (in the UK, at least). There's always more of one flavour. I imagine they did taste-tests and Peach was the most popular, so putting more of them in the variety packs attracts more customers.
posted by EndsOfInvention at 7:04 AM on July 6, 2006

Are the flavors in the variety pack also sold individually, as in a box of just blueberry or whatever? If there are no boxes of just Peaches and Cream on the shelves maybe they're pawning off leftover product of a highly unpopular flavor on the unsuspecting variety pack buyers. By putting in double they get rid of them twice as fast!

This is complete speculation as I've never looked closely at the offerings in the oatmeal aisle.
posted by nelleish at 7:17 AM on July 6, 2006

And as far as it being the same in Walmart brand, etc. many generic brand products are made on the same production line as the name brand, but don't earn the brand name labeling for some reason (not quite enough salt, non-uniform granulation or whatever). So "Walmart brand" oatmeal may very well be composed of Quaker seconds so they have the same "too much peach" problem.
posted by nelleish at 7:21 AM on July 6, 2006

nelleish - You can buy peaches & cream separately, as well as strawberries & cream. I have never seen the other fruit variety flavors for sale except as part of the variety pack.

I'm pretty sure there are more peaches & cream in the box because it's popular. It's certainly my favorite. :-)
posted by tastybrains at 7:32 AM on July 6, 2006

I have wondered the same thing! I like peaches & cream, and so do my kids, but I doubt it is the most popular. I think it is the least popular. I would guess Maple & Brown Sugar to be the most popular.
posted by LoriFLA at 7:38 AM on July 6, 2006

(purely speculation to follow but...)

Perhaps it is the cheapest to manufacture?
posted by raedyn at 8:13 AM on July 6, 2006

I've always wondered this too, particularly because I hate the peach ones.
posted by Keane at 8:33 AM on July 6, 2006

Best answer: I don't think it's about the cost involved in producing the various flavors. If you look closely, you'll see that the "peaches" and "strawberries" are both dehydrated apples. They're just dyed different colors and flavored appropriately. Those "blueberries" are actually figs.

So it's almost certainly a matter of marketing research and taste tests. Economists and researchers at Quaker figured out that if the variety box is skewed toward a given flavor they'll realize some small percentage increase in sales.
posted by aladfar at 8:56 AM on July 6, 2006 [1 favorite]

duh, maple and brown sugar isn't in the fruit and cream box. I am confusing the big box I get at SamsClub. My kids prefer strawberry and blueberry in the fruit and cream box.
posted by LoriFLA at 9:13 AM on July 6, 2006

I wish they wouldn't put Peaches and Cream in the Costco big box at all. I put it in a strainer so the "cream" stuff falls through into the sink, and then cook up the remainder "cream"-free. Apples and Cinnamon is my favorite.
posted by matildaben at 9:58 AM on July 6, 2006

Heh... this is a problem I have with mixed product at Costco as well -- they always seem to stick in some unedible flavor (not just oatmeal) that means that I avoid buying the food, or end up with a bunch of uneaten packets.
posted by jzb at 10:42 AM on July 6, 2006

Response by poster: Thanks for all the great replies.

I guess since peach is hands-down my least favorite (to the point of occasionally tossing a box with a couple peach danglers left) it never occurred to me that the extras might be thrown in because someone actually preferred it. Doh.

After aladfar's link, I might just ditch this junk entirely and get my daily dose of 'banana flake powder' elsewhere!
posted by MrToad at 12:29 PM on July 6, 2006

H-h-heeeey. Indeed, the proper name of what I just ate is "Artificial Strawberries & Creme Flavors." You're right! No Strawberries Were Harmed in the Making of this Oatmeal.

When I got the variety packs, I always figured that I had so many peach flavored packs because I hated them and had a bunch leftover from the last variety pack.

Mmmm... Dehydrated Apples (Treated With Sulfur Dioxide, Sodium Sulfite, And Sodium Bisulfate To Promote Color Retention)
posted by Skwirl at 12:42 PM on July 6, 2006

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